KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat fought valiantly but could not get past the University of Victoria Vikes blanketing defense, falling by 18 points (74-46) at UBC’s Okanagan campus Friday night.
The pink-clad teams played with passion in the hard fought game tonight during UBC Okanagan’s CIS WBCA Shoot for the Cure game. All 43 CIS schools with women’s basketball programs are taking part in this initiative which will raise money for fighting breast cancer.
The Heat were able to keep the Vikes in check during the first quarter, holding the lead down to just nine points. In the second quarter the UVic defense completely baffled the Heat, with the Kelowna squad only mustering 6 additional points before half time, trailing 39-16.
“We were pretty optimistic coming into tonight’s game,” commented Heat assistant coach Marc Semeniuk. “We were looking to come out with a strong beginning and we battled hard. We just didn’t match up with the physical play right off the bat and the girls got stymied a little bit. Hopefully we learned our lesson tonight and we’ll come out tomorrow knowing what to expect from UVic.”
The Vikes offense was led by guard Deborah Yeboah (4th year, Winnipeg, MB), who scored a game high 18 points, and forward Allison Mulock (3rd year, N. Vancouver, BC), who scored 16, Yeboah and Mulock were the only two Vikes players to score in double digits. Yeboah also grabbed a shared game high 10 rebounds alongside teammate Sarah Semeniuk (3rd year, Fruitvale, BC).
The third quarter brought forth a renewed offensive effort by the Heat, which was counteracted by the Vikes, who still managed to outscore the Heat 16-15 in the quarter.
Coach Marc Semeniuk thinks that different lineups helped get UBC Okanagan’s offense in gear. “We had some good contributions from a lot of different girls,” said Semeniuk. “We were rotating players through to see who was ready to step up in that physical game tonight. We were searching and a few girls really did step up and play dirty for us.”
Freshman guard Emily Kanester (Vernon, BC) of the Heat scored a team high 11 points and was the only Heat player to score in the double digits against the defensively sound UVic. Krystal Schouten (2nd year, Winnipeg, MB) was second with eight points. Kanester and Schouten each grabbed five rebounds.
Semeniuk commented on the team’s strategy for tomorrow night’s rematch: “We have to battle hard and play tough, aggressive defense just like they did to us tonight. We can’t back down from their aggression and we need to keep pressuring them on offense and take it hard to the basket.”
The win moves the Vikes to 7-8 on the season and keeps their playoff dreams in place, while the Heat move down to 2-13. The two teams meet again for round two tomorrow afternoon at UBC’s Okanagan campus at 4 p.m. The game can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
HEAT NOTES: Whitney Hamilton went 2/3 from beyond the and is now shooting 52.9% from three, in 82 minutes of floor time Hamilton has knocked down 9 threes.